Hey! What’s up, you guys? It’s Awais from Book Summaries, and today it’s time for me to finally make my Breakfast at Tiffany’s book summary analysis by Truman Capote. I read this book quite a while ago, but I wanted to wait until I saw the movie to do my review to talk about both because most people experience the story for the first time by watching the movie. So, I wanted to talk about both, and it took me a while before I started this and finished it. So, today we’re going to be talking about the very, very well-known novella, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, by Truman Capote.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s book summary Beginning
We’re going to start talking about the novella, and then we will talk about the movie and probably compare while talking about this. Breakfast at Tiffany’s was published in 1958, and it follows a woman named Holly Golightly.
The narrator of the story is called Fred by Holly, but Holly is the show’s star. At the story’s beginning, Fred moves into the same building as Holly, and they have a quick friendship. And it follows Fred as he gets to know Holly better and is trying to live his life in New York and be a good friend to Holly. Holly Golightly is not a good person. She is this blonde woman who is very aloof, who is very mysterious. She does not want people to know about her, and so when people ask her questions about herself, she always diverts them to something else.
She has this way that people find her fascinating, and she almost expects people to hang onto her every word. The character, Fred, thinks that she is engaging and pays attention to her a lot. That’s why Fred ends up finding out a lot more about her life than most people do around her. Holly, in the story, says that she will never get used to anything. She says that anybody that does might as well be dead or something like that.
Self-Motivation to Become Self-Independent
So, she does not want to settle down. She got afraid of being stuck in one place. She doesn’t want to invest in anyplace or anybody. She’s okay if people invest in her, but she does not want to reciprocate those feelings. And she works very hard to keep herself separate and independent and on the move. And it just follows these two characters and a few others while they’re living in New York, and their lives are very messy. It’s one of those situations where you know you are headed towards a bad ending, a messy ending like a train wreck, but you can’t look away.
As usual with my book reviews, I’m going to go through my pros, go through my cons, give my rating, and then we’re going to talk about the movie. My first pro for this book was Holly’s characterization. I thought that Holly was so attractive, and that may be because Fred also felt that she was so interesting.
You learn about her in this novella against her will, which the characters know about her. So, as they are almost, like, fighting to be her friend because she makes it difficult, they’re learning stuff, and you’re learning stuff too. So, you end up getting invested in Holly, and it is so well done. I thought that that was probably one of the biggest pros for this book – Holly’s characterization and how you learn about her in bits and pieces, and then everything starts to unfold.
Another pro for this book is that I enjoyed the writing style. Fred tells it in kind of, like, different tenses. He switches back and forth, so it seems like someone is talking to you about her in the present or what he thinks she’s doing in the present and what happened in the past. So, you get that feeling of someone who is talking to you and describing someone they once knew in their life and sharing memories and just general present-day thoughts. So, I enjoyed that as well. In some of my other reviews, I commented that Truman Capote details in his writing.
So much so that sometimes it bogs down the plots. In this, I didn’t feel like that at all. I felt like it had details. It had tiny, little things about Holly that gave you some insights into how she’s thinking, or into Fred and how he’s thinking, and stuff like that, but it did. So, it didn’t slog anything down. There are details like how she keeps her phone in a suitcase and stuff like that – and where she keeps her shoes and what she keeps in the oven, which is, like, not pans or anything like that. So, you get all these details, but it’s not overbearing. It is a very quick novella to get through. I also really liked Fred as a narrator. He starts very – almost innocent.
Fred Growing Up With New Spirit
He’s new to New York. He’s just figuring things out, and throughout the story, Fred starts to grow and becomes more cynical. And you get to see Fred develop, and change, and learn as he learns more about Holly. So, I think Holly and Fred were both perfect, complete, believable characters, and yeah, I enjoyed Fred. So, I liked the characters. I liked the writing. I thought that the plot was interesting in this as well.
Maybe not as well done as the other two, but I felt invested in the story. I wanted to know what would happen with Holly because you know that she’s such a mess that something messy will happen. So, I was waiting to find out what that was going to be and how it would be handled by Holly, Fred, and Truman. as he was writing it. And the last pro that I had written down, which I talked about already, was that I did like knowing –
Like, it gave me that feeling that something messy was going to happen, and then it delivered. And I just enjoyed that entire process. I thought that it well did and was enjoyable. It kept my attention the whole time, and yeah, I had a lovely time while reading this. If you want to watch the Breakfast at Tiffany’s book summary.
I wrote down a couple of cons. These were not conning for me because they didn’t affect my reading experience all that much, but many people hate Holly in this. She expects to be gifted things for nothing. She is not a good person, and she’s not a good person – like, she’s not meant to be. At least, that’s how I think about this novella. Like, I wouldn’t say I liked Holly. She’s terrible, but she’s so exciting that I wanted to learn more about her.
So, I think that was the goal, which is what this book – this novella – delivers. So, if you’re going into this and you’re thinking that you’re going to love Holly, especially if you’ve watched the movie, change that expectation because I don’t believe that you will like her.
You will find her attractive, though. And the other con that people have for this is that they couldn’t connect with any character, which is understandable. Holly is terrible, so it’s hard to communicate with her because she is so awful and self-centered in this novella.
Why is it called to breakfast at Tiffany’s?
It’s the trust that only decent things occur there that styles Tiffany’s so tempting to her. So why select this as the title? The title draws consideration to Holly without having to name her precisely – she’s the only one in the book who dears the store so much.
And Fred is a little hard to relate to because he follows Holly like a bit of a puppy dog. They are a little challenging to connect with, but I think it’s more of an “I’m watching these messes of people be messes, and it is entertaining.” So those didn’t affect my reading experience, but they might affect yours if you have different expectations going in.
When I finished this novella, I searched for various reviews, which is how I pulled some of the cons that other people had, but I just had such a good time. I enjoyed this. I ended up giving the novella four stars. Yeah, I think that it is a well-craft novella following really believable messes of people doing messy things.
So, I enjoyed it. Then months after I finished this, I decided it was time to watch the movie finally. It is no secret that Truman Capote wrote this story thinking that Marilyn Monroe would play the main character. And when you read the novella, you’ll see the connections between them. Like, the main character in the novella is blonde.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s book summary Climax
She is very in charge of her sexuality. Like, men fawn over her, that kind of thing. She’s very, very beautiful, and she is like a socialite, and people pay her to go to social events or be at events with them. And I feel like people have that same sense of Marilyn Monroe a little bit, but when it came down to it, the people directing the movie or casting the movie chose Audrey Hepburn because 1) they wanted Audrey Hepburn.
They didn’t even think that she would accept the role, and she did anyway. And Marilyn was doing something else. She had some other movie that she was part of. It ended up being Audrey Hepburn, and it’s funny. When watching the movie, I was like, “These are so similar at the beginning and the middle.”
I will say that a character constantly badgers throughout the story in their building and yells at her a lot. I honestly cannot remember if the surface is Asian in the novella. The character was Asian. His name was Yunioshi, and the actor who plays that character is white. And they put him in yellowface, and he was way over the top and offensive.
Like, when I watched the movie, I recoiled when I saw that. It was, like, Woah, this guy looks 1) not Asian, and it was not a good portrayal. I, finishing the movie, watched the special features. They have a whole thing, where I think they’re all Asian Americans, talking about it and discussing the representation.
What is breakfast at Tiffany’s about?
This novel is about a girl who falls in love with a writer. She struggles to achieve him and wants to see her life partner.
Hey, What was going on at the time, what went on since, and how Asian representation in movies progressed years—stuff like that. So, I appreciate that this edition of the film had that as a unique feature so that people can watch that, and like, learn and know that that was not a good thing.
And the director of this movie even said he would go back and change it, so I’m glad to see people are growing. But that was like, Woah! Anyway, the movie is quite similar to the book. Holly is a Huge Mess. She is in this weird situation where she pays to meet someone at a prison similar to here. She’s not a great person. She was still very self-centered. The narrator is quite similar as well. They give him a name in the movie and a more interesting backstory, so I think Fred is more interested in the film than he was in the book or the novella.
But I do think they kept a similar spirit in the beginning. In the book and the movie, Holly even talks about something called the mean reds, which is like some extreme anxiety or something similar that she goes through. The only way to alleviate that is to grab some breakfast and go to Tiffany’s. And that’s why it is called Breakfast at Tiffany’s because it calms her down and helps with the mean reds. Even similar events happen where Holly’s past comes back into her life, into her present, and that’s the same.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s Themes
- Female Freedom and Independence.
- Money, Joy, and Possessiveness.
- Life partner, Affection, and Sexuality.
- Private and Obsession.
It has very similar beats. I will say that the movie is a little bit more like a romantic comedy, almost a movie, and the book is not like that. The film changes things up. It focuses on Fred and Holly about the same. They have a different sort of relationship in the movie than they do in the book. In the film, I like how they say that you end up running into yourself no matter where you run, which I think is partially true, at least in Holly’s case.
Audrey Hepburn’s portrayal of Holly, though in the movie, is a little more put together. She’s a little more, like, classy. I can see why people like Holly more in the film than in the book because they can see how she’s dressing and poised just because Audrey Hepburn balanced.
I see why people like her fashion sense, but she’s still when it comes down to it, kind of the wrong person in the majority of the movie. And I think the last thing I have to say about the film besides enjoying it is that the movie’s ending is so different from the book. I was not expecting it because they were tracking pretty similarly for an extended portion of the story. Here is breakfast at tiffany’s book ending.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s book summary Ending
Then the ending completely goes in its direction, which I think is a good call because people hate Holly in this novella, and if they kept it the same, they’d probably hate her in this as well. So, by changing it, people love her in this movie, and I get it now.
Like, when I finished it and people are like, “Audrey Hepburn!” and “Holly Golightly!” and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s!” I understand why this is beloved by people that love Audrey Hepburn because they changed the ending so much. I enjoyed the movie. I wanted the changes. Truman Capote did not enjoy the changes and the film, which I thought was interesting.
Yeah, I enjoyed both. I think you’ll enjoy the movie if you know about the lousy portrayal of an Asian in this, and that is not okay. The film is a little bit more romantic, a little easier to digest, and the book is fascinating, and the characters are messy and continue to be confused. So again, I gave Breakfast at Tiffany’s four stars. I don’t rate movies, but I enjoyed them both. So that’s going to be my review for Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote.
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